Adults often tell children sports help prepare us for life. The Olympic movement is a perfect example. This profound global event has repeatedly demonstrated humanity's capacity to live together in peace, health, and prosperity - if only briefly. Tens of thousands of athletes and spectators representing every difference in humanity from race and language to religion and political ideology, coming together, under a most intensely competitive atmosphere is profoundly significant.
Wherever the Olympics occur, unlike many places in the world today, athletes and spectators are granted access to clean water, adequate nutrition, healthcare, and regulated commerce.
It is my hope the Winter Games in Salt Lake City are not disrupted by violence - anywhere in the world. We should be committed to world peace, not just temporary cease-fires, in all world events.
Sean Patrick Murphy
Regarding "Olympic writers discover the West isn't so wild" (Feb. 6): I want to commend John Hughes for the even-handed and spinless approach I found in his column. I am not a Utah resident, but have visited many times, and I find it to be an incredibly refreshing place to visit.
The people I have come across are very friendly - some of the most friendly I've found in the country.
With so many articles being written about Utah and the Mormons, many of which seem to have an angle first, and then fit the story to the preconceived angle, it is nice to see an opinion piece that is not heavy-handed either way. This story seems to tell it like it is - at least the way I see it.
Regarding "He won't be on medal stand, but flame burns here" (Feb. 4): It was nice to see this story about the unheralded Olympic star, Johnny Bauer.
It seems that Olympic sports have become more and more Olympic "business." No longer do athletes appear to have the incentive to compete for the sake of competition. Now, some top Olympians compete for the best endorsement or pro-sport contracts and are contaminated by the media hype and banker/agents who drive the price of sports to the point of absurdity.
A recession in the economic world of sports would be welcomed in the minds of many common folk. Class-act athletes, who act on what they believe in, are few and far between.
Maybe, if we're lucky, a new crop of true athletes is being planted as we speak.
I was so happy to see your article about cross-country skiing Olympian John Bauer.
Five years ago, I was inspired by a talk John gave to pursue a dream I'd always had - to make the Olympics. As a result, I began training with him and his team in Duluth, Minn.
During that time, I found John to be not only a tremendous athlete, but humble, kind, and sincere - an Olympian in every way.
Although I just missed the Olympics this time around, I don't regret for a second following John's example and encouragement.
The whole experience has taught me that living the Olympic spirit is much more than standing on a podium with a medal around your neck and tears in your eyes.
It's a day-in, day-out commitment to strive constantly for something higher. Though the rewards are not broadcast on cable TV, they certainly weigh heavily in the scales of life.
Grass Valley, Calif.
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